Saturday, July 25, 2009

Notes from the Youth Director.

Here we are on the final full day of the gathering. It has been an amazing week full of challenges and rewards.

For me, I have had the joy of 5 day filled of laughter, joking, discussion, and time just to get to know youth a little better. I have learned so much from our teenagers. I have learned sign language and can not refer to my fellow staff as either ridiculous or awkward. I know that blood donation is one way to kill a cross country season due to energy. I got to know what the reaction to escargot is when a teen thinks they will hate it and then like it (turns out it is surprise then a smile). I learned that even Emeril's is a ton of fun when you introduce teens into the restaurant.

Things I also never knew. If you ask Brad to do anything other than eat, take a nap, or talk to his "parents" on the phone...there will be a degree of whining that is associated with said request. ROSS CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE!!! Cheryl will laugh and it is sometimes just funny (maybe not at midnight). Eric Bremme has the exact rock band tee shirts I had in High School (who knew they remade them all). Shaughn hates to be taped or have his photo taken and has not learned it makes me want to do it more!!!! Becca and I are a lot alike in many ways and this creates some major stress points, but also makes our relationship sometimes even better. She will share her thoughts on deeper subjects in order to get a conversation going. Oh and she pretty much hates 90% of the food on any menu. Oh and Renee Buthe, she can be super sweet, but inside lives a diabolical plotting mind and she can get a party started on the dance floor, like no one's business.

Erik and Sarah House...I could do absolutely none of this without them. They have always been a great resource to me at events, but at National Conventions in 06 and now in 09, they help me keep my sanity. They read the kids in different ways then I do and they are able to give me a heads up if something needs to be addressed or inquired about. They are amazing assets to the youth ministry program, but give everything they can to these kids every day. They offer me friendship, but also a sounding board for issues as they come up. When you see them in church, thank them also for making this possible.

As for me, this is my 4th gathering. 1 youth and 3 as a volunteer staff member or leader and every gathering offer something different, but one thing is always true of gatherings, I love to see teens and adults meet, W.H.E.A.T., worship together and just sing in a choir 38,000 people strong. To have this many people come together for so long in a positive and joyous way is truly a gift from GOD! The speakers this year may be some of the best I have ever heard. They have renewed hope in my journey on a discipleship path and always make the next year in Youth Ministry even more powerful. It lifts my heart and restores my soul. The prep for it is very draining and having ASP prep and NOLA Jesus Justice and Jazz in 2009 was a lot, but it is always worth it to learn what the youth get from it. To see the smiles, laughter, struggles with complex issues, and life is why I do this.

The congregation gives so much to make these events possible for our youth and I am hoping the sharing of this blog, videos, and photos will show you a bit of why we come to these events and that they give those who come a view that the path of discipleship is not a narrow path, but rather as wide as they need it to be.


  1. Ray...Great pictures especially the one on the bottom!!!! I want to thank you and Sarah and Eric for the insoiration that you all are not only to the teens but to the rest of us on the youth team. You are a shinning example of Christ's love in action! I miss you all and can't wait to hear the stories and tales when you all get back. I am praying for your safe return and please know that I have been with you in spirit all week and living vicariously through the Blog! You are all an inspiration to the entire youth team and congregation and we are so blessed to know you all!....Miss you all Ruth

  2. Thanks Ruth!

    It was a great event and rumor is 2012 will again be New Orleans, but nothing is decided yet. We will see.